It's that time of year again – all eyes are on the 2021 edition of the MTV VMAs as celebrities take to the red carpet once again in the best (and worst) looks that fashion has to offer.
A night of celebration and disappointment housed in New York's Barclays Centre, the annual ceremony is renowned for its inclination for controversy – Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift in 2009, and Miley Cyrus vs Nicki Minaj, anyone? Besides all of the tempered misgivings that you'd expect from a room full of alcohol-fueled egos battling over shiny Moonman awards, discussions around the night's elegant, unique, or outright bizarre looks tend to steal the spotlight.
Given MTV's choice not to postpone the broadcasting of the 2020 show despite the pandemic leaving the event devoid of a live audience and all of the trimmings we've come to expect of an event of its caliber, 2021 marked a return to form. Goodbye greenscreen nostalgia of a bustling pre-COVID world, "Best Quarantine Performance," and "Best Music Video from Home," and welcome back unadulterated madness and flair.
Of course, all of the fun begins on the red carpet – the walkway of the stunning and outrageous. When it's time to make a statement, big or small, this is the place to do it, and it did not disappoint.
Versace's haute couture collection – Atelier Versace – certainly had a night to remember, dressing two of the night's biggest winners, Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X. Both the young pop sensations took home two awards in Versace ensembles. While Rodrigo stunned in an elegant pink and red full-length dress, Nas X re-envisioned prom dress and served serious Prince vibes in head-to-toe purple.
Looks that paired the opposing ends of the color spectrum and walked the line of Disney creations (which characters they'd be are for you to decide) arrived courtesy of Alexis Mabille Couture and Valentino Haute Couture on Camila Cabello and Kacey Musgraves, respectively.
The new royal family of pop-punk Machine Gun Kelly, Megan Fox, Travis Barker, and Kourtney Kardashian cemented their reign with a quartet of head-turning fits. Gone is the triple pink MGK of 2020, and in his place, the Hot Topic fantasy pack of a devilish red suit accompanied by a sheer dressed Fox.
Equally as coordinated, Kardashian (wearing Olivier Theyskens) and Barker arrived as a gothic pair made in heaven – or hell?
Pop-rock showed up and showed out, with Avril Lavigne and boyfriend Mod Sun transporting us back to 2007, complete with "Girlfriend" ringing between the ears. Plaid, plaid galore.
Chloe Bailey's fit from Marni gave off emergency foil blanket vibes, complete with a chest-mounted spoon that looks straight out of an archeological dig. Ultime survival kit, much?
Kim in a gimp mask, but not Kim Kardashian this time. Kim Petras' Richard Quinn look is what we'd imagine you'd get if you put Jesus is King era Yeezy and DONDA era Kim in a blender. Despite the cross, this probably wouldn't be considered your 'Sunday best' for church.
For the TikTokers in attendance, hit or miss is probably the best way to describe the outfit choices. While the D'amelio seemingly missed the memo and kept it all the way basic, Bella Poarch looked to give a public audition for a Met Gala invite.
Billy Porter has a precedent for stealing this show with his outfit choices. While his 2021 VMA wasn't quite as showstopping as some of his past Oscars and Met Gala appearances, the full metallic silver suit and platform boots certainly gave the Moonman awards a run for their money.
Pop's sweetheart Justin Bieber was the epitome of smart-casual, pairing an oversized blazer with a hoodie and jeans. Who said the night's winner can't pull up and be cozy?